Uterine fibroids

What are they?

Uterine fibroids are growths made up of muscle cells and other tissue that grow on the lining of the uterus. They are mostly benign. They can be single growths or develop in clusters, and can range in size from the size of an apple seed to the size of a grapefruit. Having fibroids does not increase a woman’s chances of developing uterine cancer.

Who gets uterine fibroids?

Women of childbearing age are most likely to develop fibroids. Women who are overweight have a slightly higher chance of developing fibroids. African-American women are more likely to develop them, and at an earlier age than other women.

What are the symptoms?

  • Heavy bleeding and pain during menstruation
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during sex
  • A feeling of fullness in the pelvic area
  • Lower back pain
  • Infertility

How are uterine fibroids treated?

Over-the-counter pain medication is often used to alleviate pain. Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) can be prescribed to shrink the size of the fibroids prior to surgery. Surgery is often used for women with moderate to severe symptoms.

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